|Fire damage on Grandeur of the Seas // Photo by Royal Caribbean|
It certainly wasn't the typical Memorial Day for passengers onboard Royal Caribbean International's Grandeur of the Seas on Monday.
Passengers were awakened by the general alarm and called to their muster stations where they remained for several hours after a fire broke out onboard about 2:50 a.m. The fire was in the aft portion of the ship in the moorings area.
Fire teams onboard the ship battled the blaze for approximately two hours, with the fire extinguished around 4:58 a.m. The line said the captain "in an abundance of caution" deemed it necessary to muster all passengers and crew.
In a statement on Sunday, the line said "all 2,224 guests and 796 crew have been accounted for, and guests have since been allowed to return to most staterooms and public areas." No injuries were reported although the ship's medical team assisted a few guests who fainted, felt ill or had high blood pressure. One person also twisted an ankle.
During the fire, U.S. Coast Guard helicopters circled the ship, guests said. In addition, Carnival Sensation was reportedly nearby. Royal Caribbean guests said they could see that ship and its night lights, apparently helping calm frazzled nerves.
Grandeur of the Seas did not lose power or propulsion, and sailed on to Freeport, The Bahamas, arriving around 10:15 a.m. on Sunday. The charred aft portion of the ship, spanning several decks, was clearly visible as news cameras surveyed the exterior damage in Freeport.
|Royal Caribbean International's President and CEO Adam Goldstein meets with guests onboard Grandeur of the Seas following its arrival in Freeport, The Bahamas. // Photo by Royal Caribbean|
Going onboard to meet the guests in Freeport on Sunday was Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean's president and CEO, as well as other executives and the line's Care Team.
The line has cancelled the cruise and is arranging for guests to be transported back to Baltimore, where they embarked the ship late last week.
Guests will receive a full refund as well as credit for a free future cruise. The next seven-night cruise from Baltimore has also been cancelled; the line will fully refund those guests' cruise fares plus provide them with a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.
Royal Caribbean PR said via Twitter this morning that the line will make a decision on whether any subsequent cruises will need to be cancelled later this week. The line used Twitter throughout the crisis to effectively communicate with both guests and news media.
Today, Royal Caribbean International operations personnel are in Freeport to inspect the damaged ship. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also said yesterday that it will investigate.
Grandeur of the Seas was built in 1996 and refurbished in May 2012, as part of the line's Royal Advantage program.
For Travel Agents Only: Did you have guests onboard the ship this weekend? What's your perspective on how the line handled the incident? What was the feedback from your clients? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.